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Indybay Feature
Police training and Mental Illness
by Samantha H.
Thursday Dec 6th, 2018 10:29 AM
Police training does not have a focus on protecting a single individual if there is a greater community at risk. They motto is for the "greater good" rather than good of all.
Police training on mental illness is needed worldwide - In 2017, there were more than 730 people who had died in a law enforcement confrontation and mental illness played a role in a quarter of those. Law enforcement is left with the duty of acting as first responders for those who suffer from mental illness and addiction. Officers are not trained on how to handle these crises which puts the individual, officer and those in the community in a vulnerable state and increases the chances of a tragedy. The criminal justice system has never had the intent to provide any sort of mental health services - they have a goal to promote “public safety for the community at large and themselves”. Officers should have to go through training courses such as Mental Health First Aid - which is a two pronged nationwide effort that is geared towards protecting both parties in these situations. It could also benefit the officers within their surroundings in case a fellow officer is experiencing PTSD or another mental health challenge. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a goal to provide programs to create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illnesses and their families.

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